About the Book
Book: Anything But Plain
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Amish fiction
Release date: October 4, 2022
It’s not easy being the bishop’s daughter, especially for Lydie Stoltzfus. She’s not like other Amish girls, as much as she wishes she were. The only thing she does well is disappoint others. Leaving her family and church seems unbearable, but staying might be worse.
Knowing Lydie is “between” jobs, the local doctor asks her to fill in at the front desk for a few months. To Lydie, this is a boon. It gives her time to figure out how she’s going to say goodbye to her neighbor, Nathan Yoder–the main reason she needs to leave Stoney Ridge. Nathan claims he’s in love with her, but she knows she’s not good enough for him. If in doubt, Nathan’s father reminds her frequently.
As Dok spends time with Lydie, she recognizes symptoms of an uncommon disorder among the Amish. She offers treatment for Lydie. But will it be enough to make her stay? Or has help come too late?
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Stoney Ridge and especially Bishop David Stoltzfus’s home is my favorite setting that Suzanne Woods Fisher has penned. While Anything but Plain could be read as a stand-alone, it is sweeter if you have read the preceding books.
Everyone loves Lydie, but having the Bishop’s youngest daughter work for them is another matter. As Edith says, ”Everyone says you’re an accident waiting to happen.” (How can some people be so cruel to others?)
Mammi, David’s widowed mother, comes for a visit. Before long, she informs Lydie, “‘You’re the reason I’m here.’ Mammi smiled. ‘You’re going to be my special project. We are going to fix you.’” Oh, the angst in that household , and not just for Lydie, as Mammi settles in! I love how Fisher weaves that one event into so many subplots.
I was slightly dismayed to find in this book that David himself is not perfect. He has always been such a humble, wise, and godly bishop. To find he has faults was indeed sad. May it be a reminder to all of us that we cannot put church leaders on pedestals. The only one we worship and adore is God. He alone is perfect.
I loved Nathan. He is humble, kind, knowledgeable about his organic farming, and eloquent as well. He is very forgiving, more than most.
One plot twist did throw me for a loop. I did not feel the reader had been properly prepared or armed with enough understanding to receive that twist as plausible.
Still, this is probably my fave Fisher novel so far for the unusual subject matter, (ADHD among the Amish) and the way Fisher deals with it.
I received a copy of the book through Celebrate Lit, and also NetGalley, plus I bought a copy to give away. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.
“Act first and think later. Lydie’s life in a nutshell.”
“He needed to seek things to be grateful for, something Birdy was always reminding him of. Search for them like a lost coin, she would say, because his mind didn’t naturally go to gratitude.”
“The Lord God did not make a mistake when he made you. Everything about you was ordained from the beginning. You have to start believing that.”
“She had a knack for solving problems, for seeing things he couldn’t see.
Magnificent!! Fisher’s Best Yet!!
About the Author
Suzanne Woods Fisher is a Christy finalist, a Carol Award winner, a two-time ECPA Book of the Year finalist, and the Publishers Weekly, ECPA, CBA, bestselling author of more than thirty books. Her genres include contemporary and historical romances, Amish romance, and women’s fiction. She and her husband live in a small town in California, where everyone knows everyone else, knows what they are doing and why. Most folks act a little nervous around Suzanne because they usually wind up in one of her novels. She has four grown children and enough grandchildren to keep her young. Visit Suzanne at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com
More from Suzanne
Easily Distracted? 8 Strategies to Help Stay Focused
Anything but Plain is a story about a young Amish woman with undiagnosed ADHD. Lydie Stoltzfus feels like a square peg in a round hole. She just doesn’t fit in and, to make matters worse, she’s the bishop’s daughter. At this point, the only path forward she can see is to leave Stoney Ridge. Leave her church, her friends, her family, her neighbor Nathan Yoder. It’s better to leave, Lydie decides, than to keep disappointing everyone she cares about. I won’t say anymore so that I don’t spoil the story for you.
ADHD is not a common diagnosis among the Amish and many might assume it’s not a real thing. Of course, they’re mistaken. ADHD is a real thing. While I don’t have ADHD, I do have many friends and family members who have been diagnosed. It’s challenging! And something we should all take seriously. Here’s why:
Evidence is mounting that a growing dependence on digital devices could be giving all of us some ADHD-like symptoms. Have you wondered if distractibility is becoming a problem for you? Or has a spouse or child or friend remarked on how often you pick up your phone to check a text message or scroll Instagram? You might remain physically present but your mind has wandered away. For me, the answer is, regrettably, yes.
There’s a recurring phrase in Anything but Plain that comes from an old-fashioned farming term: Walking the beans. Literally, it means weeding by hand. Figuratively, it means paying attention to our priorities. To pull the weeds before they take root.
One of the takeaway lessons of this book is to “walk the beans” of technology’s role in my life. So…I’ve been working on a few strategies. When I practice, I see a difference. Life is calmer. More manageable.
So…I wanted to pass these tips along to you. (If you have little children, these might not work for you. Not when your little ones are awake, anyway.) Hopefully, you’ll find them to be useful, and maybe spark some strategies of your own.
- Make a plan. I start the day with an index card and write down the day’s priorities. And I check off tasks as I finish them!
- Go off-line. Create an environment that helps you stay focused. Turn your cell phone to silent. If working on the computer, close your email app. Put yourself in distraction-free mode until you’re accomplished what you need to do
- Finish one task before moving on to the next. Even little tasks.
- Distractibility is at its peak during transitions. Build in margin. For example, arrive a few minutes early instead of rushing in a few minutes late.
- When distractions are high, make tasks smaller and break down your large projects into smaller tasks to help you concentrate and give you a sense of accomplishment and progress.
- When I’m facing a big task, I’ll break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
- Set a deadline for a task. Beat the clock! Use a timer.
- Rewards! When I beat the clock, I’ll take a break from computer work and pop up to the garden, text a friend, walk the dog. Something that feels good.
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She Lives To Read, October 8
The Write Escape, October 8
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 9
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 9
Vicky Sluiter, October 9
lakesidelivingsite, October 10
Texas Book-aholic, October 10
Lighthouse-Academy, October 11
Simple Harvest Reads, October 11 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
Locks, Hooks and Books, October 11
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 12
Inklings and notions, October 12
Southern Gal Loves to Read, October 12
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 13
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14
Blogging With Carol, October 14
Elly Gilbert, October 14
deb’s Book Review, October 15
For Him and My Family, October 15
Holly’s Book Corner, October 15
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 16
Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 16
Splashes of Joy, October 16
Empowermoms, October 17
SusanLovesBooks, October 17
Mary Hake, October 17
Bigreadersite, October 18
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 18
Blossoms and Blessings, October 18
Cats in the Cradle Blog, October 19
Pause for Tales, October 19
Spoken from the Heart, October 19
Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 20
Cover Lover Book Review, October 20
The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 20
To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.